In 2016 a new type of pension provider started operating in the Netherlands: the General Pension Fund (Algemeen Pensioenfonds– APF). The arrival of this new type of pension provider follows the introduction of multi-company pension funds in 2009, and premium pension institutions in 2011. Taking into account these three new types of pension providers as well as traditional pension funds and life insurers, there are now a total of five different types of pension providers in the Netherlands. Seven APFs are currently operational in the Netherlands.
At the end of 2017, APFs managed a total of EUR 9.4 billion in assets (see Chart 1). By comparison, premium pension institutions managed assets amounting to EUR 6.7 billion and multi-company pension funds managed EUR 2.9 billion in assets as at 31 December 2017.
Chart 1: Assets managed by general pension funds
Amounts in EUR billion
These assets are highly concentrated, with the three largest APFs holding around 95% of the total assets.
APFs bundle these assets together in what is known as collectivity circles. Each collectivity circle forms a separate financial unit. The pension assets in each separate circle are ring-fenced. Collectivity circles provide pension schemes for one or more companies.
APFs are primarily set up by insurers or pension administration organisations. An exception in this case is the Unilever APF. The seven APFs have set up 22 collectivity circles in the last 18 months. Ten of these circles are continuations of former, independent pension funds, while the other twelve are newly-created financial entities. The number of collectivity circles per APF varies from one to six.
General pension funds and their collectivity circles fall under the Pensions Act (Pensioenwet) and are therefore subject to DNB supervision. The requirements for collectivity circles are based on the Financial Assessment Framework (Financieel Toetsingskader). The requirements for each collectivity circle are comparable with those for pension funds, and include the obligation for all circles to meet own funds requirements. APFs are also subject to financial position requirements. Moreover, APFs are required to hold buffer capital. The size of this buffer capital is partly determined by the value of the pension assets held in the collectivity circle.
This is reflected in an APF's simplified balance sheet (see Table 1).
Table 1: Aggregated balance sheet of APFs
31 December 2017, amounts in EUR million
As at 31 December 2017 assets held by APFs amounted to approximately EUR 39 million (see Table 1), distributed over buffer capital assets, receivables (including short-term receivables and receivables from banks) and other assets. APF balance sheets do not include pension-related receivables and commitments, as these are recorded on the collectivity circle balance sheet.